Niall Ferguson on fiat money

June 1st, 2010

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How to buy and invest in physical gold and silver bullion

Yesterday, at ABC1’s 7:30 Report, Kerry O’Brien interviewed Niall Ferguson, the economic historian who wrote the widely acclaimed The Ascent of Money documentary. In that interview, he discussed the present economic troubles in Europe and compared the future of United States and United Kingdom with today’s Greece. Near the end of the interview (at the 7:13 mark), Kerry O’Brien asked him this question:

What are the outstanding lessons from economic and financial history for Europe and the United States today?

For which, Niall Ferguson replied:

Well, let’s say there are three things… one is that we may be living through the end of the age of paper money, which began with the break-up of Bretton Woods in 1971…

Even as early as five years ago, if someone suggests that on mainstream TV, he will be ridiculed as an odd-ball.

There are more to what he said. You can watch the entire video of the interview below:

The good news for Australia, as he reckons, is that in terms of the government’s budget position, it is in a relatively much better position than the US and UK. But before we rest on our laurels, should Australia be hit by a home-grown banking/credit crisis, thus resulting in the government bailing out the private sector, the government’s budget deficit will blow out in an instance.

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  • Pete

    Niall makes an interesting point about countries actually WANTING their currencies to be devalued so that they can export more.

    In relative terms, where does this put countries of the world? The USD at an all-time high? The AUD reaching new highs? It is quite intriguing how this could play out, especially if the US prints money but somehow maintains a high USD, it can pay off debt quicker?

  • Marc Faber wrote in his report that never before have nations on a competitive devaluation race to the bottom. In one recent lecture at the Mises Institute, a 'strong' USD will give the Fed the excuse to print more money.